Hosting firms, grids split on Gloebits

While most OpenSim hosting companies are cautiously optimistic about the new Gloebit currency, currently in beta testing on Hyperica and ZetaWorld grids, grid owners themselves are split on how they want to see payments evolve.

Dreamland, Zetamex testing platform

Dreamland Metaverse was one of the early testers of the Gloebit currency.

Dierk Brunner

Dierk Brunner

“I think Gloebit will become a good and attractive alternative money solution,” Dreamland Metaverse CEO Dierk Brunner told Hypergrid Business. “But it still needs further testing and some features are still missing.”

Brunner pointed to the fact that the balance doesn’t always upgrade automatically in the viewer, which Gloebit CEO Christopher Colosi has already said he’s working on. He’d also like to see the “Buy Currency” button working better than it is now.

Dreamland Metaverse set up a test of the Gloebit virtual currency on the Hyperica grid.

Dreamland Metaverse set up a test of the Gloebit virtual currency on the Hyperica grid.

Further tests are also needed for grids that run different currencies on different regions and on the hypergrid, he said.

“An additional security review would also be good,” he said.

Dreamland will be offering Gloebit as one of its supported money solutions as soon as it is ready, he said.

ZetaWorlds is testing the Gloebit currency on the Gloebit 1 and Gloebit 2 regions. Elsewhere, the grid continues to use OMC.

ZetaWorlds is testing the Gloebit currency on the Gloebit 1 and Gloebit 2 regions. Elsewhere, the grid continues to use OMC. Here I used the account I had previously used for shopping on Hyperica to buy a bar.

Zetamex Network is also testing the Gloebit currency. Interested users can teleport to hg.zetaworlds.com:80:Gloebits 1 and hg.zetaworlds.com:80:Gloebits 2 to try it out.

“Those two regions are live, and we already found bugs with it,” Timothy Rogers, the former CEO of Zetamex, told Hypergrid Business. “We have reported them already to Gloebit.”

DS4o taking a ‘wait and see’ approach

The hosting company DS4O currently only offers Podex to its OpenSim grid customers who need grid currencies and is waiting to see how well Gloebit takes off.

“It is something that OpenSim has needed for a long time,” DS4O spokesperson Cloneu Inglewood told Hypergrid Business.

DS4O has previously also offered the OMC currency from Virwox, but has seen problems.

“One issue is that there was not much support for changes in their source code, so that it could keep up with the
OpenSim,” Inglewood said. “And it would fail to work on many updates. Second, OMC depends on their servers to work and
it seemed that they were down more than they were up which would cause lag on the OpenSim regions that used it.”

DS4O stopped supporting OMC long ago, Inglewood said, and would not consider using it again.

“Podex, on the other hand, has always been great in support and the only thing lacking is a true hypergrid system,” Inglewood said. “However, if you have accounts on several grids that use Podex, you can transfer funds from one grid to another.”

DigiWorldz, SirinHGpole positive on Gloebit

The DigiWorldz grid has been in contact with Gloebit “for some time,” DigiWorldz founder Terry Ford told Hypergrid Business.

He is currently waiting to see that it performs well, with solid infrastructure, good support, and regular updates.

Terry Ford

Terry Ford

“If it performs as advertised, it should do very well,” he said. “I think this is something which has been needed for some time.”

He added that the fees seem more reasonable than those of Podex.

DigiWorldz also provides hosting and technology services to other grids, including minigrids and standalones, and larger commercial grids including 3rd Rock Grid and The Great Canadian Grid.

“I can’t speak for the Great Canadian Grid or 3rd Rock Grid, but for DigiWorldz I would say the potential to work with them, at least in some capacity, is very good,” said Ford, adding that he is scheduled to talk with Colosi this coming week. “I do not yet have anything setup to test with on my end, but hope to have something up soon.”

The DigiWorldz Hyper Mall.

The DigiWorldz Hyper Mall.

The French-language, hypergrid-enabled SirinHGpole grid is also open to experimenting with Gloebits.

Grid owner Sirin Peccable told Hypergrid Business that the hypergrid needs a new payment system, and that Gloebits are a great idea.

“I have created a account on Gloebit and I would like install the currency system on my grid,” Peccable said.

 

The Gloebit platform has great potential, Farworldz grid owner Talla Adam told Hypergrid Business.

“Generally, I welcome any new technology and services that help the open metaverse develop,” she said. “I am keen to see support for commercial grids in general and hypergrid-enabled grids in particular so this new system looks like it has great potential. I like that it can be easily setup for any grid to do trade without getting into all the legal and technical complexity of running local currencies.”

A common currency can help create a single market across the entire hypergrid, she added.

“Right now, we have too many closed grids operating their own currencies, separate avatar logins and no exportable content,” she said. “I hope that will change and a system like Gloebits could encourage more grids to open up… The fact that Gloebits is intended to work for other platforms too in also interesting so I will watch developments closely.”

Some grids prefer no currency, a peer-to-peer currency, or their own

While many OpenSim grids embrace commerce and look for ways to grow their economy, others work on a volunteer or donation-only basis.

The latter include the 2Open grid, Littlefield, and many of the non-profit grids.

“I don’t like a payment system at all,” 2Open founder Fred Folkerts told Hypergrid Business. “For me, the good thing should be if everything is for free. I know that creators put in a lot of effort, but so do also the volunteers who keep the grids running.”

He said that prefers to see grid supported by donations instead of in-world commerce.

Littlefield is known for its unique content, created by residents, and offered for free. Littlefield Grid Mall. (Image courtesy Littlefield Grid.)

Littlefield is known for its unique content, created by residents, and offered for free. Littlefield Grid Mall. (Image courtesy Littlefield Grid.)

“I don’t like currency and we don’t and never will have it in Littlefield,” grid owner Water Balazic told Hypergrid Business.

Other grids prefer to stick with a currency that’s fully under their own control.

Ilan Tochner

Ilan Tochner

“It makes no business sense for us to replace a billing system which we have full control of with one that depends on a third-party virtual currency,” said Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner in a comment on Google Plus. “We didn’t do it with OMC and I see no reason for us to do it with Gloebit.”

Unlike the OMC and Gloebit, Kitely’s own currency, Kitely Credits is not redeemable — people can only use it for in-world purchases, and to pay for Kitely land and other services.

“The loss of people who would avoid Kitely because they can’t cash out Kitely Credits is probably a lot less detrimental to our business than losing the control, flexibility and revenue we get from managing our own non-convertible virtual currency,” Tochner said. “As for making Kitely Credits convertible, that is still a very messy proposition that would require orders of magnitude more transaction volume before it could be reasonably justified.”

The Kitely Market currently delivers products to over 120 OpenSim grids.

One of the Kitely Market stores offering exportable content delivered to more than 120 OpenSim grids.

Kitely merchants who would like to cash out their earnings already have an option, he said — they can list their Kitely Market products for sale in US dollars instead of Kitely Credits.

“People can already buy everything sold in Kitely Market directly using PayPal,” he told Hypergrid Business. “And most people do so even for items that are listed in Kitely Credits. I don’t think another virtual currency would increase sales enough to compensate for the loss of our margins from selling Kitely Credits.”

Gloebit might also have a disadvantage for some grids because it is based in the U.S.

Geir Nøklebye

Geir Nøklebye

“It does not pose a threat to Virwox and the OMC because this US-registered virtual currency is close to impossible to implement for a commercial grid in Europe,” Xmir grid founder Geir Nøklebye told Hypergrid Business.

“Any European-based grids with a currency that takes real money must be able to make sure the supplier of the currency will be able to fulfill European consumer and privacy legislation in addition to handling VAT and other relevant reporting requirements,” he said. “And any such grid must register with a business ID in the US and will be subject to tax reporting and potential US tax withholding if going for Gloebits.”

Nøklebye said that the only universal currency he can see working on the hypergrid is a cryto currency such as Bitcoin.

“But even that might be a stretch because it might have to be registered the same way as any other virtual currency in the US if convertible to real currency,” he said. “Most of the Asian countries have forbidden crypto currencies, so there are issues there too. We most likely will have to live with blocks of currencies based on the legislation, where the US is one such block and the EU countries and Russia is another.”

Per Ericksson's Troppo Club grid.

Per Eriksson’s Troppo Club grid.

Per Eriksson

Per Eriksson

“We do need a payment system however I do not think we need to build a new system,” Per Eriksson, a manager at virtual world development firm Troppo Design, told Hypergrid Business. “I prefer a decentralized system. I think Bitcoin is the obvious payment system for virtual environments.”

Bitcoin is an open source, peer-to-peer currency, that has been steadily growing in transaction volumes in recent years, though its price is still very volatile.

“Bitcoin is a solid system and offers minimal cost per transactions,” he said.

Number of daily Bitcoin transactions. (Image courtesy Blockchain.info.)

Number of daily Bitcoin transactions. (Image courtesy Blockchain.info.)

Currently, only casino-themed YrGrid is using a Bitcoin-based currency.

Cindy Chidester

Cindy Chidester

“The more choices, the better,” YrGrid technical director Cindy Chidester told Hypergrid Business. “However, I would like to see a more federated or decentralized payment system. Gloebits seems like an advancement in what has been done before, not a progression in technology.”

YrGrid, in particular, would not switch, she said.

“YrGrid’s heart and soul is our truly free market economy based around Bitcoin,” she said. “Anyone is free to move their Bitcoin on or off the grid at any time and without restriction.”

Using off-the-shelf Bitcoin is problematic, she admitted, because of the time it takes to confirm transactions. Other grids that accept Bitcoin typically just set up a local virtual currency and accept Bitcoin payments.

YrGrid, instead, uses a different system.

YrGrid's Welcome Center region is a recreation of the gambling district in Macau.

YrGrid’s Welcome Center region is a recreation of the gambling district in Macau.

“YrGrid does not own or store the coins that are deposited,” she said. “We simply keep a ledger of transactions made on the grid and confirm their validity. If YrGrid’s servers were leveled by a nuclear warhead, the multisig wallets would still be accessible by their owners. YrGrid is setup as an escrow service that finalizes transactions instantaneously and leaves the confirmations to be handled on the back end so users don’t need to worry about them. Bridging this across multiple grids would be tricky, but there are ways of doing so. I just haven’t had the time to work on anything like that.”

The Adult Grid will also be sticking with its own currency, grid co-founder Constanza Amsterdam told Hypergrid Business.

“I think most grids will want to hold it in their own control,” she said, adding that Podex, which her grid users as its currency exchange, has been around for a while and has proven its worth.

Green Hill Zone region on Mobius Grid.

Green Hill Zone region on Mobius Grid.

And Mobius grid is sticking with the OMC currency, even despite Virwox’s recent decision to stop supporting New York users.

“My users love OMC,” grid founder Shawn Corr told Hypergrid Business. “And while I think the Gloebit is a great idea, I don’t think it’s a smart move, for at least Mobius, as of yet. Depending on how well it does with other grids, I might consider.”

Corr added that he’d be interested in seeing Bitcoin, as well, but is worried that it would be too slow for most users.

One difference between the OMC and Gloebits is that OMC requires a web-based confirmation for every transaction, while Gloebit requires that confirmation step only when the user is shopping on a new grid for the first time, or is setting up a recurring payment.

“My user base, oddly, likes the extra web step in OMC,” said Corr.

 

 

 

 

 

CloudServe offers own multi-grid currency

CloudServe is the other major OpenSim hosting company, but the company already offers its own multi-grid currency, called Game Tokens.

Like Gloebits, Game Tokens are supposed to work on the hypergrid, and offer commissions to grid owners, and is also available outside of OpenSim.

Frank Corsi

Frank Corsi

“We do offer it to our CloudServe clients, as well as real life clients,” chief technology officer Frank Corsi told Hypergrid Business.

“A centralized system is far better overall,” he added, in response to critics who would prefer a more peer-to-peer, decentralized platform like Bitcoin.

Currently, Game Tokens are used by the hypergrid-enabled Atek Grid, and on Side Kicks, Archer Place, Virtual World CitySouthern Virtual Land, The Mightly Ginkgo, Galaxy Grid, and New Life Destination.

Corsi said that his platform is listed with FinCen, the U.S. financial regulatory agency, and banks with a national bank in order to be able to provide a regulated currency legal in the U.S.

“Game Tokens also has shopping credit cards and business loans,” he added. “Also, as you know we work with real life companies such as Cisco, Petsmart, and Equifax… and they will stick with what we offer.”

But Corsi said that CloudServe is open to setting up other payment systems for its grid customers.

“We always give the customers what they ask for,” he said. And he’s open to other types of relationships, as well.

“Maybe they would entertain a joint venture with my company, as we have some great developments that could enhance what they are trying to do,” he said. “With a possible partnership together we could accomplish much more.”

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maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • Alex Ferraris

    My opinion is that the grid should have its own currency and offer others on the side for a variety of reasons. Plus you got PAYPAL that can use REAL currency worldwide. So I dont see all the fuss about this as an extremely needed measure. It is just one more type of currency.

    • So are there any working PAYPAL vendors out there that cover both sales and rental? The only thing I found the last time I looked was some unmaintained code.

      • Alex Ferraris

        Its a simple task. The vendor can accept paypal payments and or your currency.

        • Yes, thanks I understand that. The question was more like: Is there a set of well maintained PayPal vendors available that the grids can start using, rather than going back to the old (unmaintained) ones and write the code on their own?

    • hack13

      I honestly do hate to say this. But PayPal is not accepted world wide. When I used to run Zetamex we had clients from different parts of the globe where PayPal was barred from citizens. This required us to move to accepting bank transfers and credit cards directly through services like stripe.

      • Exactly. – Which is why VirWOX added a number of other payment options for Europe, and why LL added Skrill to SecondLife.

      • Alex Ferraris

        Well very few countries do not have paypal. The ones that dont have paypal there is always bank deposit.
        But even a worldwide virtual currency needs to be purchased by either credit cards or bank deposits anyway.
        A very good example is the brazilian community. Most of them by the currency via bank deposits and they have no problems doing that.
        And like I said ; it is good to use a combination of services

      • Alex Ferraris

        Well very few countries do not have paypal. The ones that dont have paypal there is always bank deposit.
        But even a worldwide virtual currency needs to be purchased by either credit cards or bank deposits anyway.
        A very good example is the brazilian community. Most of them buy the currency via bank deposits and they have no problems doing that.
        And like I said ; it is good to use a combination of services

      • boy was that a nightmare

  • VirWOX used to a certain extent to play the role as an exchange but I believe the changes in reporting and other requirements by US authorities made this close to impossible to keep with the small volume overall.

    VirWOX will exchange OMC to EUR and USD (and possibly BitCoin).

  • hack13

    VirWox is a great solution, however the interface for someone like me the process is simple to understand. But for some users, whom are not as tech savvy there are a few handful of steps to buy and cash out, which can be complex and lengthy in comparison to the existing exchanges.

    • I don’t think it is THAT difficult to use. They have 543,156 registered users… Which actually may be a good thing if they want to move to OpenSim.

  • Artūras Baltrukaitis

    The new concept of virtual currency introduced by Gloebits seems to be attractive form of implementing and applying possibility of using economy based on virtual currency through all Metaverse, especially it might be very good option for Hypergrid – enabled virtual worlds.

    It needs to be noticed and said, that this new idea might be considered as satisfying form or running virtual money for rather not enough technologically advanced grids, that due to certain reasons are not able or do not want to run their own virtual currency.

    But in my opinion, each seriously running business, based on professional, financial principles and economical rules can’t rely on third-party company in aspect of monetary politics.

    That is Iron rule in business. Virtual World, its administrators, are responsible for all factors that have influence on financial contexts in their business.

    So , simply saying, we are not allowed to give power of making decisions about running virtual currency to other company.

    In MY VIRTUAL COMMUNITY, we have created and developed our own virtual currency and both of companies: Podex and Virwox are only third party resellers of our currency.

    And they absolutely have not any access neither to our servers, nor to our databases, that refers to virtual currency.

    Still, us, administrators, decide how our virtual currency work in all aspects.

    What we can suggest to Gloebits is : to create and develop such hypergrid – exchange system that would not interfere with home currency and would also allow for fluent flow = automatic exchange between various currencies during hypergrid travels.

    • Hanna

      I think like many other times in Open Sim this will be a missed opportunity but not on your part! what you are offering is wonderful and the best way for OS as a whole to have a unified currency.

      Unfortunately OS has always been divided over any big changes in my opinion.

      We lost the Pixie viewer over it,Sim on a Stick over it and even recent viewer developers pleading for feedback to bugs all with a lot of head hurting
      underlined politics in my opinion.

      Look into other markets including games & high fidelity as your not going to get a lot of support here with too many seeing a smaller picture and a mile long list of excuses of why not in my opinion.

      Thank you for your effort and trying, you will find great success do not give up.

  • Maria had to edit what I wrote in my comment in that aforementioned Google+ discussion thread for this article, but I think it is important to note the entirety of what I wrote to better understand my reply. I had said the following:

    “Despite their use inworld and in Kitely Market, Kitely Credits are mostly used as a way for people to pay us in advance for hosting their
    world(s). For example, there are educators who spend their grant money to buy thousands of USD worth of KC at the beginning of each academic year to pay for their students’ worlds during that year.

    At any given point in time there are tens of thousands of USD worth of KC in circulation, that is a lot more than the amount of OMC in circulation. It makes no business sense for us to replace a billing system which we have full control of with one that depends on a third-party virtual currency. We didn’t do it with OMC and I see no reason for us to do it with Gloebit.”

    I think this better clarifies our stance and why replacing Kitely Credits with a third-party virtual currency doesn’t make much sense for us.

    • Hanna

      Very Surprised you pushed for years a unified Marketplace for OS but when someone else arrives with another important foundation piece a Unified Currency you completely Dismiss it..or at least that’s how i am reading it?

      could you clarify why you think its harmful to Open Sim and you do not think it can help OS Grow?

      • He didn’t say that Hanna “Very Surprised you pushed for years a unified Marketplace for OS but when someone else arrives with another important foundation piece a Unified Currency you completely Dismiss it..or at least that’s how i am reading it?

        could you clarify why you think its harmful to Open Sim and you do not think it can help OS Grow?”

        Perhaps this translation will clarify things for you.

        “Ilan Tochner • 3 minutes ago

        Maria had ta edit what tha &$%@ I freestyled up in mah comment up in dat aforementioned Google+ rap thread fo’ dis article yo, but I be thinkin it is blingin ta note tha entirety of what tha %@*$ I freestyled ta betta KNOW mah reply. I had holla’d tha following:

        “Despite they use inworld n’ up in Kitely Market, Kitely Credits is mostly used as a way fo’ playas ta pay our asses up in advizzle fo’ hostin they

        world(s). For example, there be educators whoz ass spend they grant scrilla ta loot thousandz of USD worth of KC all up in tha beginnin of each academic year ta pay fo’ they hustlas’ ghettos durin dat year.

        At any given point up in time there be tenz of thousandz of USD worth of KC up in circulation, dat be a *#%$load mo’ than tha amount of OMC up in circulation. I aint talkin’ bout chicken n’ gravy biatch. Well shiiiit, it make no bidnizz sense fo’ our asses ta replace a funky-ass billin system which our crazy asses have full control of wit one dat dependz on a third-party virtual currency. Us dudes didn’t do it wit OMC n’ I peep no reason fo’ our asses ta do it wit Gloebit.”

        I be thinkin dis betta clarifies our stizzle n’ why replacin Kitely Credits wit a third-party virtual currency don’t make much sense fo’ us.”

        complements of http://www.gizoogle.net/textilizer.php and my warped sense of humor at the moment….

      • Hi Hanna, I apologize for the late response, I just saw your question now when I pointed someone to this article.

        A centralized marketplace, such as Kitely Market, helps all parties involved:
        1) It enables grid owners to provide their users with access to more legal content than the great majority of grid owners can get on their own (by trying to convince merchants to open shop on their grid).

        2) It enables merchants to increase their customer base by selling to customers from a lot more grids than these merchants can reasonably support on their own.

        3) It gives end users access to great content regardless of what grid they wish to use, enabling them to have the same access to content on their home-operated standalone as they can on the most popular OpenSim grids.

        The great majority of transactions in Kitely Market have been in USD, where people have used real money to acquire items and that real money was later transferred to the merchants who sold those items. Transactions that were done in Kitely Credits have almost always been done by Kitely users buying from other Kitely users, where both parties had other uses for the Kitely Credits they got (Kitely Credits can be used inside Kitely and to pay Kitely for its hosting services). We have nothing to gain by involving third parties in Kitely-user to Kitely-user transactions when we already operate a very robust virtual currency system of our own.

        In the article and in this comment I’ve explained why it doesn’t make business sense for Kitely to adopt a centralized third-party-operated synthetic currency, I didn’t say anything about whether I think it makes sense for other companies/people to do so.

  • Sebastian

    With Ethereum it is possible for every grid to have its own token that works in very decentralized way, you could easily create new cryptocurrency that implements mechanisms to allow grids to make payments in your name within specified limits to make it work as seamlessly as centralized tokens etc. With smart contracts it is just a matter of dozen lines of code. Bitcoin is pretty outdated.